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Rachel Skalnik Ready to Play for ORU

By MIKE MOGUIN
GTR Sports Writer

TOP POINT GUARD: Owasso’s Rachel Skalnik drives to the basket in a game this past season.


Courtesy Owasso High School Athletic Department


Rachel Skalnik left Owasso High School as one of the school’s top female athletes all-time after graduating back in May.

Skalnik is now in transit as she prepares for a new venture at Oral Roberts University, whom she committed and signed with to play college basketball back in April.

“Mainly, the thing that appealed to me was that it was a (Division-I school),” Skalnik says. “That is the highest level, basically, you can go, and you only get a chance to go D-I once in your life. So why not? Being close to home and it being a Christian-affiliated school were also factors in my decision. I’m excited.”

Playing time is also a positive opportunity for Skalnik.

“I’m looking forward to getting on the floor and playing against really good competition,” she says. “Last year, (ORU) played Baylor, Tennessee and Oklahoma State, which is really good high-level competition.”

Skalnik also loves the ORU coaching staff, especially head coach Misti Cussen.
“She is probably the most genuine person I know,” Skalnik says. “She is just super nice. Even if you really didn’t know her, she would make you feel like you’re the only the person in the world.”

Coincidentally, the ORU signee will be on the Large East roster to play in the Oklahoma Coaches Association All-State girls’ basketball game, which will be played on her college floor, the ORU Mabee Center. That game is scheduled to tip off July 27 at 7 p.m. That will be her last high school action.

Skalnik also played in the Oklahoma Girls Basketball Coaches Association game June 4. She scored 11 points for the East, including a pair of 3-pointers.

Looking back on her Owasso career, Skalnik averaged 9.2 points per game as a point guard during her senior campaign. She played her best basketball down the stretch.

In the Class 6A state tournament, she led the No. 9 Lady Rams with 12 points in a semifinal win against top-ranked Broken Arrow, who had won state the previous two years. That win advanced Owasso to its first trip to the state final in 26 years.

“(Broken Arrow) was a great win, definitely. It was good to get a little revenge on them,” Skalnik says.

Owasso had lost three meetings to the Lady Tigers through the season prior to their semifinal clash.

However, they could not pull out a victory as they dropped a 45-40 decision to No. 7 Midwest City, settling for the runner-up trophy. Skalnik led the Lady Rams with 13 points and hit a layup that drew them to within one point – at 34-33 – before they were outscored 11-7 by the Lady Bombers the rest of the game.

“We went out there, and we just decided we were going to play under the circumstances that we were given. We were going to play as hard as we can,” Skalnik says. “Some factors didn’t play in our favor. Going (fouling) out with four minutes left and some other factors, it was a tough loss. But I think from that we all knew then we had a great season. There is nothing for us to be ashamed about. It’s still hard. But it’s good to learn from what we did and didn’t do.”

While Skalnik is now moving on in basketball, she made her presence known on the soccer pitch as well.

She was part of a team that also finished runner-up in that sport after losing to Union in the championship final. One of her big highlights came when she played goalkeeper for the Lady Rams in a key game against Broken Arrow in early April.

“We talked about it, and I thought about it a little bit. If (Owasso girls’ soccer) coach (Sam Bowers) thinks this is the best option, then I’ll do it. The players says ‘we want you to be back there, because we trust you in being able to handle the pressure in that situation.’”

The trust paid off as Skalnik got a shutout in a 3-0 win.

“It was great,” she says. “It was not like I was an all-star. I give a lot of credit to the field players for keeping the ball away from our end. It was good to kind of feel safe back there and have support.”

Updated 07-26-2016

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